Monthly Archives: June 2011

What if Tom’s Shoes Went to Kerala 50 Years Ago?

A friend is flying from Houston to Miami to Peru and hopping on a boat through the Amazon to get to a small village where people cook over fire. The locals have to find wood, start the fire, then slowly cook their food at the mercy of the fire’s cooking capacity.

My friend, while sharing the gospel, is helping build a small cooking device, so this village can cook more efficiently and improve the quality of life. Then he’ll teach the locals to build and sell these devices, so they can make money while helping others.

Pretty nifty, huh?

Barefoot in Kerala in 2010

Barefoot in Kerala even in 2010

Anyway, I thought about how my grandmothers cooked over a fire in their tiny homes. Sometimes I ask my mom if she and her peers in Kerala 50 years ago would count as poverty-stricken. I mean, they ran around with no shoes! And took dumps in holes in the ground. Tom’s Shoes could have swept Kerala in its arms in my parents’ day and covered their little feet. They barely had any clothes and shared a tiny living space with many brothers and sisters and few beds.

But I imagine they counted as pretty well off compared to the truly poor in India.

So maybe just because someone doesn’t have electricity or a stove or shoes, we don’t have to think their world is a mess? Or feel sorry for them in that oh-you-poor-third-world-citizen-you kinda way. At the same time, helping anyone economically develop is a good thing.


More to Life Than Milking Cows

walking the cows in paipad, kerala

Just the neighbor taking the cattle for a stroll in Paipad

In a Father’s Day story today, the Houston Chronicle gives advice from a man from Mexico who, 9 grown-up kids, a Latina girl band and a landscaping biz later, has lived the American dream. You might appreciate the similarities between his story and that of your parents or others in your family.


When David Rodriguez was 16, he kissed his Mexican grandmother goodbye and headed north, sure that there was more to life than milking cows, tending crops and chasing the very occasional car down dusty roads…

“Where I was born, there was no electricity, no TV, no refrigeration. When we were going to eat meat, it was a party. We couldn’t save any of it.”

This was the reality for so many people in our parents’ day, and it still is for many around the world. Though my parents weren’t vegetarians growing up, meat was eaten only on special occasions. I’m always asking my mom when she first heard that a TV existed.

No matter what corner of the globe you’re from, there are so many parallels in the way people live.